KENNETH DARROUX, Minister for Foreign Affairs, International Business and Diaspora Relations of Dominica, said that to survive the COVID-19 pandemic and better prepare for the future, priority must be given towards establishing universal access to quality healthcare. That will require a bigger role for the WHO, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the Caribbean Public Health Agency. “Living with the COVID-19 pandemic ‑ and preparing for future pandemics ‑ must now become essential components of sustainable development,” he said. Bilateral and multilateral development partners must respond to new realities by adopting more creative financial instruments. Those countries that adopt progressive policies aimed at creating sustainable means of production and consumption should be duly rewarded, he said.
Underscoring the Caribbean’s vulnerability to rising sea levels and increasingly frequent extreme weather events, and recalling Hurricane Maria’s impact on Dominica in 2017, he said major polluters must act more aggressively to reduce global warming. Dominica aims to become the world’s first climate resilient nation, but major polluters must take up their responsibilities and support small island developing States to adapt to climate change. “This is a matter of climate justice,” he said, adding that Dominica looks forward to COP26 where Paris Agreement commitments — especially those regarding climate financing ‑ can be revisited and honoured.
Dominica’s ongoing development of geothermal resources will enable it to move away from importing fossil fuels to generate electricity within the next five years while also reducing energy costs for its citizens, he said, adding that geothermal energy has the potential to launch a new, cleaner and more affordable industrial revolution. Turning to regional concerns, he urged the United Nations to take the lead in coordinating targeted support for Haiti in response to rising poverty, sustained political instability and numerous disasters in that country. He also called for the economic, financial and trade embargo on Cuba to be discontinued and for the United States to allow the Cuban people to become fully integrated into the global trading system.
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